COLUMN: If I had a hammer …

Library columnist Anne DeGrace on how to do almost anything.

I woke up the other day to a hammering on the outside wall of my house. Great, I thought: the Shingle Fairy has come!

Alas, there are no elves or fairies replacing my siding. The culprit was that head-banging spiky-haired punk rocker of the avian world, the woodpecker.

Like any male in the know, he was trying to attract a female by pretending to be an expert in home improvement. Of course, we all know the reverse is equally true: any potential mate who can pound a nail has the advantage, no matter the gender.

It’s that time of year, of course — for amorous woodpeckers and home-improvers alike. And the Nelson Public Library is here to help with the latter, if not the former.

We have books!

We have how-to-do-its for inside: plumbing, wiring, drywalling, tiling, painting, and building every part of your home thanks to books by home improvement celebrities such as Mike Holmes, lots of books on green building and remodeling, and the ever-popular books — especially for us unhandy folks still hoping for elves — illustrated guides such as Fast Fixes for Almost Everything in Your House (643.7 WIN).

We have how-to-do-its for outside, from walls, decks and patios to greenhouses and storage sheds. Build your own garden furniture with 2×4 Projects for Outdoor Living (684.18 HEN) or your own handyperson getaway with The Creative Homeowner Ultimate Guide to Barns, Sheds & Outbuildings (690.89 WAG). I have it on good authority that woodpeckers aren’t picky: they’ll attack your barn as soon as they’ll attack the other side of your bedroom wall. You can double your chances of a morning sleep-in with a few more exterior surfaces.

Taunton Press has published Fine Homebuilding magazine for 35 years (we carry those, too!) They also publish a range of homebuilding and woodworking books — and we have many. In particular, check out The Accessible Home: Designing for All Ages and Abilities (728.087 PIE), a book aimed at making our physical challenges less challenging; Staying Put: Remodel Your House to Get the Home You Want (690.80288 DIC); and aimed at pleasing the cook in your life: The All New Kitchen Book (643.3 BOU).

And we have DVDs!

While YouTube will tell you how to fold an origami woodpecker or build a birdhouse, it can be trial and error to find a build-it DVD you can trust. We have a nice collection of DVDs by those Taunton Press experts on installing doors and windows, building stairs, tiling floors, building kitchen cabinets, and yes — because it’s that time of year — building decks.

Whether you’re building a straw bale house (693 STR), a log house (694 BUR), or a stone house (693.1 STA), you’ll need to make sure you’re following the BC Building Code, otherwise the wolf might blow your house down (or the building inspector). Luckily, the BC Building Code is available online (and searchable!) for use at any of our computers on site. This database also includes plumbing and fire codes.

You can still build a better birdhouse (690.89 SEL), but that won’t solve your woodpecker problem. Build a treehouse instead (690 NEL) and then when woodpecker mating season is over, climb up and move in. It’ll give you a birds-eye view, the better to learn to love your feathered friends (598.2).

Anne DeGrace is the adult services coordinator at the Nelson Public Library. Check This Out runs every other week.

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